It is with both sincere gratitude and sadness that I reflect on my last days at the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau. I cannot describe enough how greatly I’ve been inspired by the tremendous leaders and coworkers I have met over the past summer.
It’s true. In the course of my stay at the J.F. K. Federal Building I did learn a lot about working in the public sector, and I like to think that, in brief glimpses, I might have seen what it would be like to work in “the West Wing”. But, what touched me most about my internship was seeing daily the persistent heart and drive of leaders who have spent years and decades of their life serving the public good.
In the last few months, I have worked on organizing, planning, and executing roundtables, seminars, and talks related to the issues of the Women’s Bureau. I have read, analyzed, and communicated my ideas on a litany of primary source documents related to healthcare, trauma, medical leave, homelessness and equal pay (among others). However, what I will treasure most about my time here at the Department of Labor are the close relationships that I have built with the supervisors and staff at the Women’s Bureau, as well as the officers at the Office of Public Affairs and the AFL-CIO Union.
It was through our informal lunches and conversations that I learned a lot about the past Secretaries of Labor, the history of the Equal Pay Act, and the legacy of the Kennedy Family in Boston. Moreover, it was also through these conversations that I learned about the preexisting New England inter-governmental softball league, the best restaurants in the North End, and the genius behind Orson Scott Card’s novel, “Ender’s Game” (one of my supervisors is an enthusiast). Who knew the Attorney General’s office used to have such avid softball players?
In all seriousness, I say these things not in the least to make light of the meritable work done by U.S. Department of Labor, but to underscore some of the amazing people I have met within it. I was truly blessed this summer to have worked with praiseworthy leaders and mentors, and they have again shown me that a place is never just about the landscape. It is the people that make it special.